5 Weird Toddler Behaviors That Are Actually Completely Normal

Let’s face it: A toddler exhibits some peculiar behaviors, many of which baffle even seasoned parents. Is it normal to play with your gross materials? Should head pounding be cause for fear and a hasty trip to the pediatrician for your child? Perhaps, but perhaps not. Physician Candace Jones, host of the podcast KIDing Around with Dr. Candice, author of High Five Discipline: Positive Parenting for Happy, Healthy, Well-behaved Children, is an expert on the topic. She is a mother to two kids, a five-year-old and a thirteen-year-old.

Selective Eating

Your baby may be chowing down on a variety of fruits, vegetables, and proteins one moment, then flinging their favorite foods off the highchair and turning their heads away from chicken bites and applesauce the next. It’s quite upsetting and annoying. So, what’s the real deal? According to Dr. Jones, finicky eaters in toddlers are just typical toddlers. She suggests that a toddler who refuses meals might just not be hungry at the moment. Their “growing taste and even sensitivity to textures” could also be the cause. But, she cautions you to persevere. As parents, we must “wait it out” and refrain from “fueling” the conflict. Continue providing wholesome foods and avoid focusing excessively on the toddler’s (typical) finicky eating.

Toddler Regression

Your toddler was getting close to being potty-trained and now they’re having multiple accidents a day. Likewise, they used to (literally) sleep like a baby and now bedtime can take hours. You’re exhausted and frustrated. Changes in your toddler’s life can cause potty-training regression. Dr. Jones advises parents not to panic or punish their children. Instead, the parents should focus on retraining their child. As far as sleep regression, remember that the body and brain of a toddler are rapidly developing, which can affect the child’s sleep.

Head Banging

Naturally, you’ll freak out when your toddler hits their head for the first time. Does that not hurt? Why are they behaving in a heavy metal concert manner? Is this conduct typical? But, Dr. Jones tells us that everything is fine. According to Dr. Jones, rhythmic head banging might give youngsters who are in discomfort or sleepy soothing stimulation. She also says that most frequently, it comes from a tantrum when a child is agitated. Parents of toddlers who head bang can “ignore, redirect, or distract” their child, much like when they do other inappropriate actions.

Nose Picking


Toddlers want to investigate, especially their bodies, as Dr. Jones points out. Despite how commonplace picking one’s nose may be, there can be another reason. Your child may experience nose pain, a blocked nose (called “dry secretions”), or itchy eyes due to seasonal allergies. Consult your child’s pediatrician if you suspect there may be a health problem causing them to explore their nose so much.

Imaginary Play

Your toddler will probably play side by side with their peer even if another peer is close, but they won’t interact much. We refer to this as parallel play. Finally, some solace. A toddler is engaging in “developmental and helpful” behavior when they are speaking and making noises out loud to themselves alone. This kind of play, according to Dr. Jones, “helps develop social, emotional, cognitive, and physical skills.”